Research shows that most don’t fulfill their ‘resolutions‘ on the first try. Only 12% actually achieved their goals.(1) Sadly, most of us spend more time planning our vacations than we do planning our lives. Why is that? A goal is nothing but a dream with a deadline.
Regardless of the goal, our chance of success is better if the goals are SMART -
Specific(i.e. instead of lose weight, be specific lose one pound a week between now and June 1st for Tina’s wedding and maintain the June first weight between June and December). It should address the 6 W’s(2):
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Measurable (can be measured on a scale, given a starting measure is stated, and a specific weigh in time/day of the week is determined)
Achievable (if the person is over weight, wants to lose weight, and has a plan to reduce calories (ie reduce portion size, change food choices) and/ or increase activity (burn more calories, walk 1 hour day, take the stairs (3 storey) instead of the elevator).
Realistic (if the person is over weight, wants to lose weight and the amount of weight is realistic)
Time based Set a start and stop time, have bench marks. (i.e. weigh in on Jan 1 before breakfast, remeasure weight every Sunday before breakfast to measure movement toward goal.
Put pen to paper and make a plan! Your future is in YOUR hands.
(this is a repost of our January 2011 post)
For the past 18 months I’ve had the role of social media coordinator for CDHA. My role, scheduling entries/posts and monitoring/replying to facebook, twitter and blog postings. December 31st will be my last day in this role, after which time Angie D’Aoust, new Director of Marketing & Communications for CDHA will be taking over. Those who follow regularly will have noticed her entries.
To close my term I thought I’ld share a few social media pointers related to the dental profession. I present regularly on Social Media for Dentistry, covering everything from web page optimization, online marketing, metrics, using facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+, blogs, social sites, community pages and the like. The social media opportunities are endless and new opportunities are added almost daily.
- develop a social media policy – who’s posting, when, about what, what are the rules of engagement
- develop and maintain a brand/image
- know your audience and speak their language
- keep communication short and concise
- write for the reader not the web
- use images to attract attention to your posts
- have a schedule/calendar to plan your posts/topics
- remember the Pareto Principle
- a small number of loyal followers in your area is a lot more valuable than a large number of disinterested followers
- get personal, but don’t invade the privacy of others
- give (information, pointers, juicy bits of trivia)
- don’t hard sell products, treatments or ideas – there are always alternatives
- acknowledge (information sources, shares, advice from others, feedback)
- don’t make it all dental
- involve community
- utilize metatags, keywords, hashtags, image descriptors, etc to optimize your web presence
- analyze lists, analytics and metrics; get the most out of your data
- use platforms to pre schedule, monitor, control and coordinate your various media
- DON’T tweet and post the same things on all platforms, the audiences are different and so is the expectation
- advertise your social sites – talk about them in-office, link on your web page, add links to your email signature
- posting too frequently and two close together is one of the key reasons people unfollow/unsubscribe – you clutter their feed so that they can’t see what their friends have to say – schedule
- use alerts to follow ideas and concepts you want to discuss and to see what others are saying about you and your office
- don’t respond in defense of negative reviews, it just brings them back to the top of the review list. Instead crowd them out with positive reviews. No one expects all reviews to be positive, statistically negative people are much more likely to post. Negative reviews make you ‘real’.
- utilize ‘share’ buttons where possible to encourage others to share your content
Social media is also a great tool to help you develop professionally. There are a number of online forums related to dentistry and dental hygiene sharing research, articles, product reviews and discussions between professionals. CDHA has a number of discussion forums, both open and closed for CDHA members, educators and independent practitioners. LinkedIn has a number, including the World Dental Hygiene Forum, and there are lots of others Amy’s RDHList , HygieneTown, and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene to name a few. These are sites that will keep you abreast of developments in your field, introduce you to new ideas and concepts and allow you to discuss and question things you read or have heard with other professionals. The field of dental hygiene can often be very isolating and this allows more open communication with like minded professionals. Online Chat through a variety of platforms also facilitates communication among professionals.
For those looking for employment, or a job shift, social media is also a means of networking with others you might not otherwise come into contact with. There are frequently discussions about upcoming opportunities in private practice, and industry on the various forums. Many of these sites also have an area for job postings as well and are worth checking out. LinkedIn is valuable in this regard and your profile acts as your resume.
Continuing Education has made a huge move to social media/electronic media in the past decade with many of us using ‘the web’ to access webinars for live or archived programs over a broad cross section of topics. There are also downloadable self-study programs. These formats save on travel costs, absence from work, child care expenses, accommodation costs etc making education more accessible to all.
The web has made communication and education easier, more affordable and accessible across the globe. There is no reason to feel isolate – someone out there is always willing to offer their perspective and help answer your questions. Get on-line and network! CDHA community are a great place to start.
It’s been a pleasure working on your behalf, communicating with colleagues over the past 18 months. For those who wish to follow me personally now that I’ll no longer be the voice of CDHA, you may do so at
While it’s not making headlines like it did in the previous decades, HIV/AIDS is still a global epidemic that also hits close to home. Today, many dental professionals have no recollection of the ‘Acer’ story that brought dentistry into the realm of disease and HIV transmission. It has changed the way we are required to practice. It was a turning point for infection control practices in dentistry and public awareness and concerns. The media was filled with stories of potential cross contamination, waterline biofilms, evacuation suck-back, handpieces, ‘experts still baffled’ , patient fear .
Despite the lapsed time, many still remain confused by the misinformation out there. The Dr. Acer case is the only apparent known transmission of HIV clinician to patient. Infection control guidelines continue to be updated and mandated across the country. Overkill? We don’t yet have a ‘national standard’. Alberta and Ontario saw major changes in recent years. British Columbia is in the process of updating it’s guidelines with dental and hygiene members recently receiving the latest ‘draft’ copy of the guidelines for input. Are these changes long past due? Overkill? Or designed simply to meet the publics ill informed cry for more stricter measures? The UK is considering allowing HIV+ individuals to practice once again. Have we reached a turning point in understanding and awareness? Your thoughts?
World AIDS Day
The week of November 24-December 1st is World AIDS week. December 1st is World AIDS Day. Celebrated since 1988 to raise awareness around the issues relating to HIV/AIDS. Education is key – for professionals and for the public. Oral health needs, rights to treatment, and an understanding of the oral manifestations/treatments as well as a solid understanding of disease transmission is required of all health care professionals.
Is it a Canadian issue? The following are some Canadian statistics:
HIV/AIDS in Canada by the Numbers
General HIV & AIDS Statistics
• 65,000 - Estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Canada in 2008. 26% of these individuals were undiagnosed, which means they could unknowingly transmit HIV.
• 21,300 - Number of AIDS cases reported since 1979.
• 2,300 – 4,500 - New cases of HIV reported each year.
• 36% - Proportion of new cases of HIV attributed to heterosexual sex in 2008.
HIV and Women
• 26.2% - Proportion of new HIV cases attributed to women in 2008. Prior to 1998, women accounted for only 12% of all positive test reports.
• 45% - Proportion of positive HIV tests among women attributed to Aboriginal women, who represent about 4% of the total Canadian female population, in 2007.
• 20% - Proportion of positive HIV tests among women attributed to black women, who represent a little more than 2% of women in Canada.
• 58.3% - Proportion of positive test reports among women attributed to the age category 15 to 19 years in 2008.
• 494 - Number of cases of HIV attributed to perinatal (mother to infant) transmission since 1984.
HIV and Drug Use
• 19.1% - Proportion of newly reported cases of HIV in 2008 attributed to injection drug use.
HIV in Prisons
• 2% – 8% - Estimate of HIV prevalence in Canadian federal and provincial prisons. Women in prison have higher HIV prevalence rates than men (about 4% compared to 1-2% for men).
Affected Age Groups
• 30 – 39 years - The age group attributed to most new infections of HIV since 1985. Among women, this age group represents 36.9% of new reports, while among men, it represents 39.9% of reports.
• Over 40 years - The age group increasingly affected by HIV. In the period 1985-1997, the over 40 age group represented 26.5% of infections, while in 2008, while it represented 45% of all newly reported cases of HIV in 2008.
• Over 50 years - It is estimated that up to 12% of HIV-positive people in Canada are older than 50. This number is expected to increase by as much as 20% over the next decade.
• 14.5% - Proportion of overall positive test reports attributed to black Canadians in 2008.
Top Three Provinces Most Affected by HIV
• 81% - combined proportion of HIV reports attributed to Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia in 2008. On an individual basis, each province represents 42.7%, 24.7% and 13.6% of infections, respectively.
• Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia - provinces with the highest per capita rate of HIV cases reported, while Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut reported the lowest rates.[Statistical data provided via the Canadian Aids Society 613.230.3580 | email@example.com | www.cdnaids.ca]
If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400 – with no balance carried from day to day – what would you do? Well, you do have such a bank…time.
Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it rules off as “lost” whatever you have failed to use toward good purposes. It carries over no balances and allows no overdrafts. You can’t hoard it, save it, store it, loan it or invest it. You can only use it – time.
Here are six terrific truths about time (1) :
First: Nobody can manage time. But you can manage those things that take up your time.
Second: Time is expensive. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of our day is spent on those things or those people that only bring us two percent of our results.
Third: Time is perishable. It cannot be saved for later use.
Fourth: Time is measurable. Everybody has the same amount of time…pauper or king. It is not how much time you have; it is how much you use.
Fifth: Time is irreplaceable. We never make back time once it is gone.
Sixth: Time is a priority. You have enough time for anything in the world, so long as it ranks high enough among your priorities.
We’re entering the last quarter of the year, have you met those ‘SMART’ goals/resolutions we set out so boldly back in January?
Today is 20% of your week. Two workdays are 10% of your month. (A work month is made up of roughly 20 days.)
“To lose only two workdays each month to fatigue or a desire to wait for a better day to do something, would be to lose more than a full month of work days each year (insane… do you see that?) Imagine if your income reflected your slow days… and know that in the long run, it probably does. Including today, roughly 30 workdays remain in the quarter. Tic toc.”(2)
Need time? Get up 15 minutes earlier each day and you’ll add more than 90 waking hours to your year (the equivalent of more than 2 work weeks). Imagine what you could do with that (professionally or personally). Push it up 5 minutes more and grab another 30 hours. That’s part of the 212 principle.
We all aspire to provide ‘ideal’ treatment for our clients and feel we can’t because of restrictions placed on us outside our control. If it was your practice, what you your protocol look like?
Greet patient by name with a handshake
- “Hi, Ms. Jones. My name is Rachel and I will be taking care of you.”
Escort patient to treatment room
Ask patient for any questions/concerns they may have
- “Have you noticed any changes with anything in your mouth? Do you have any questions or concerns before we start today?”
- Address any specific concerns
Take blood pressure and record in chart
Review medical history
- “Are you taking any medication, supplements or over-the-counter drugs? Are you taking aspirin daily? Have you had any surgery or new diagnoses since your last visit?”
Take radiographs if necessary
- Observe bone level and compare to periodontal probe readings
- Observe decay visible on x-rays
- Observe margins of restorations
- Observe any lesions in the bone
Do extra-oral head/neck oral cancer screening
- “Ms. Jones, I am going to be my exam by feeling for any unusual lumps or bumps on your face and neck. Is that ok? Have you noticed any lumps or bumps?”
Do intra-oral cancer screening
- Complete a visual exam
- Utilize technology for oral cancer screening-Velscope or Vizilite
Complete general intra-oral exam
- Observe restorations, teeth and gums
- Calculus detection
- Decay examination
- Evaluation of existing restorations
- Cosmetic evaluation-shade guide analysis
- Breath Analysis
- Oral Hygiene Evaluation
- Occlusal Analysis
Complete 6-point periodontal examination
- “Ms. Jones, I am now going to do a very thorough exam of your gums. This exam looks for signs of gum disease. I will be taking several measurements on each tooth and you will hear me call out lots of numbers. If you hear numbers that are 1-3 with no bleeding, that indicates that your gums are healthy and normal. Any numbers you hear that are 4 or higher or if you hear me say there are many areas of bleeding, that is a sign of gum infection. I will review all the numbers when the exam is finished”
- Using a periodontal probe, measure the depth of each pocket.
- Start on the upper right facial moving around the arch taking 3 measurements on per tooth. Then move to the lingual and take 3 measurements per tooth. Repeat on the lower arch.
- Say all perio numbers aloud from the upper right to the upper left facial. Then look back at upper facial areas and say aloud any points of bleeding, pus. Repeat on lingual and on lower arch.
- Measure recession from the CEJ to the gingival margin. Say all numbers aloud with surfaces to be recorded on perio chart.
- Record mobility and furcation aloud and record on perio chart
- Read aloud the total number of bleeding sites and pockets over 4mm
- Print perio chart in color.
- Highlight infected areas on periodontal chart (4mm or greater).
Determine patient’s periodontal status: healthy, gingivitis, periodontal disease
Share your observations with the patient
- Share with patient their periodontal status-healthy or infected
- Share with patients any teeth you are concerned about
- This is a good time to discuss whitening, fresh breath solutions
Take intra-oral photographs
- If patient has periodontal disease, take photos of inflamed, bleeding tissues and/or visible calculus.
- If patient has healthy gums, it is now time to discuss their restorative needs. Take photos of next restorative priority (area of concern).
Create periodontal treatment plan or preliminary restorative plan for doctor approval
Call Doctor for exam (doctor may do exam any time after hygiene exam is complete)
- Doctor confirms all findings and makes final diagnosis
- Doctor reinforces need for perio therapy as first priority when there are no emergency restorative needs
- Doctor reinforces need for restorative treatment when patient’s periodontal status is healthy
- This may occur immediately following hygiene exam or closer to the end of the appointment depending on doctor’s schedule
Begin hygiene service
You may now begin scaling.[Reprinted with Permission. Original appeared as a blog post by Rachel Wall, at Inspired Hygiene April 26th, 2010 Step-by-Step System for the Ultimate Hygiene Exam. Rachel provides office consulting, online programs, books, CDs and host of other valuable practice managment supports for dental/hygiene practice, her specialty, Dental Hygiene Practice]
CDHA · communication · compliance · education · effective listening · evidence based · health · job · learning · motivation · periodontal disease · policy · profession · relationships · self regulation · self-esteem · techniques
Show gratitude to improve relationships in the dental office and at home. Show gratitude for the blessings you’ve received inside and outside the dental practice. To cultivate gratitude, Oprah recommends keeping a gratitude journal:
“Every night, list five things that happened this day that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. If you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant; you will have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”
In addition to writing down what you’re thankful for, take action to show gratitude to the people who have helped you over the course of the past year. Expressing thankfulness to others encourages them, strengthens your relationship with them, and positions you to receive their goodwill again in the future. Appreciation and gratitude are one of the best ways to get a positive reaction from a loved one, team member, employee, etc. Too often we assume they know how we feel, what we appreciate. Vocalizing it, or putting it in writing in a card means so much more. We’ve used up half of 2011 already, put your best foot forward and make the most of what’s left - let them know what you’re thinking. Communication is the key to good relationships – personally and professionally.
We often THINK about how much we appreciate something . . . but rarely do I actually SAY IT.
I’m brought back to a recent entry in a Colleagues blog
“…On every trip I always think about how much I appreciate her(personal Assistant, Vanessa) attention to detail and how well she cares for me without being asked.
But that’s just it: I always THINK about it… but rarely do I actually SAY it to her.
I recently arrived home to the following email from her:
Hi there, sunshine! We’re both up bright and early this fine, glorious morning! Heading out for my walk. Have fun with your spa day today. Can we talk after your appointments to address the high priority items we need to discuss?
Thank you for the opportunity to work with you. I think of it often and don’t express it as much as I’d like. I am grateful for you, my employer, who consistently makes my payroll. My friend who cuts my hair just left her job because she had not been paid in 6 weeks and the last check she received bounced. We take things like paychecks for granted after awhile and I wanted you to know that I am particularly grateful for mine today.
How fabulous it felt to read that. It takes one small moment to SAY what we THINK about people in our lives. And it matters. We under-estimate the powerful potential to build people up and fill increasingly empty emotional buckets with just simply verbalizing what we are already thinking.
The next time you think:
I’m so grateful…
Say it. Let them hear your thoughts and never take for granted that people already know or that it won’t matter. It does. A lot.”
Positive feedback is very uplifting, and we need to extend it beyond our patient relationships. Your/our words can turn a hidden frown upside down – try it out!
We’re in this together — a conversation with Deb Mathews
One month ago, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting on Women and Government by Deb Mathews, Ontario Minister for Health and Long Term Care. This event was hosted by Ottawa Centre representative, Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education.
It is important to Deb that women’s voices are heard in government. Deb’s strident example of Ontario exemplifies her point; 26% of the caucus is women but this group spends 80% of the money. Such is the power of women! Deb is an accomplished woman herself; she holds a PhD in Demography, and is the initiating and driving force behind Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Deb covered a range of health issues that touch our lives—fair price drugs, $11 billion spent on preventive illnesses, mental health strategy with long term resources for children’s health, Aging at Home strategy with local health intervention networks, and smoke free Ontario. The low income dental program with the “Healthy Smiles” project in Ontario is one that she is very pleased about—an important step and a good beginning for preventive dental care in children. Health issues are similar across provinces; it is the solutions that differ.
Deb asked us to advocate for our causes, whatever they may be, at all levels. Her mantra is Measure it. Track it. Drive it for change.
It seems we’ve become a consumer driven health care system. Is that a good thing? Perhaps in some respects – when we are educating and collaborating with the client with respect to decision making and treatment – yes.
But, society has become very ‘deal’ driven – ‘ultimate couponing’, ‘deals of the day’, ‘Groupon’, ‘daily deals’, ‘SwarmJam’, and similar offerings are everywhere. We’re seeing them in the coffee shop, the hair dresser, spa, bakery, cleaning services…they pop up in our email, our newspapers…and yes, I’ve also seen some in the dental industry.
Here in British Columbia, the College of Dental Surgeons has spoken out against the ‘Groupon’ or like offerings:
CDSBC has been asked whether it is acceptable for a dentist to use this approach to gain new patients. The simple answer is no. The way the system works is that the company operating the website takes up to 50 per cent of any money that is paid. This effectively means the dentist is paying the company a commission for the referral. Any scheme that includes paying a third party a fee for the referral is explicitly contrary to the Code of Ethics, and therefore not permitted.
As you can see, they disapprove. Yet, competition in the dental industry is tight, especial within the major centers. The sprouting of independent hygiene probably isn’t helping.
Most of the offers I’ve seen locally and in other areas of Canada and the US, relate to dental hygiene services, typically for new patients. It’s the staff within the practice, not the dentist, that are asked to work harder, see more clients, at a reduced fee to the client. This in my opinion is fueling the dentist/practice view that the hygiene department isn’t ‘producing’ ($) and adding to the push of lower wages. Even more importantly however, it’s not instilling value in the client for the services they are receiving. And, it’s not just dentists that are at fault, the desire for clients has lead hygiene practices down this dangerous road as well. Are ‘deal seakers’ the loyal client base you’re looking for?
This is a problem I’ve always felt existed with our insurance assignment clients – they don’t pay ‘up front’ so they have no concept what dentistry costs, and they fail to value it, or their insurance benefits. Too often I see people who make their first dental visit when they are about to lose their employment – they’ve had dental insurance benefits for years, but simply never bothered to use it.
We need to do more to educate the public and dental practices. There’s a saying, “Don’t look for deals in brain surgery, parachutes, or dentistry.” People don’t like to go to the dentist - those that do go regularly prefer to have things done comfortably, fast and in the best way possible given the circumstances so that they don’t have to redo it, and pay twice. My advice, treat people well, make sure they know how much you care, long before they see how much you know and patient flow won’t be a problem. Value will be created as will trust and the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
‘Cheap’ should not be a part of health care. There’s a huge leap between cheap and choice and making care affordable. Dentistry can be made affordable by providing payment options and treatment options. Sometimes that may require referring them to the local dental or hygiene school for care, or seeing them in study club. It may mean occasionally accepting insurance assignment, although you’re a ‘fee-for-service’ office. It shouldn’t mean turning people away. If they’re not happy, and do not value the care you are providing, it doesn’t matter how good that care is. They are paying for ‘care’ not dentistry. Dentistry is a people business, a relationship business. Would you agree?
[the opinions expressed are my personal opinions and not the opinions of CDHA]
Normally I’m not one to forward ‘joke’ emails and the like, but this one seemed relevant to the state of the profession. The message boards, and facebook pages are filled with cries from unemployed and underemployed individuals, individuals in poor work environments and the like. So, I thought I would share this piece that was in my mail box earlier this week.
A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’… she fooled them all … “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile.
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “and that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”
“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden – holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night… pick them up tomorrow.
Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment. Relax, pick them up later after you’ve rested. Life is short. Enjoy it and the now ‘supposed’ stress that you’ve conquered!”
- Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue!
- Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
- Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
- Drive carefully… It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
- If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
- If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
- It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
- Never buy a car you can’t push.
- Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
- Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
- Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
- The second mouse gets the cheese.
- When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
- Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
- You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
- Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
- We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
- Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.
- It was me, in case you’re wondering!
Save the earth… It’s the only planet with chocolate!
[via the world wide web, original source unknown]
As we enter June I’m left wondering how many others still run their lives on a ‘school calendar’? It seems in the world around me the year starts in September and ends in June. For those with school age children this is certainly the case.
The continuing education cycle, most conventions and conferences also operate during the school year. It’s up for some debate whether this is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. If the conferences were in the summer, would be more apt to pack up the family and attend? or would it be ‘eating up’ our summer holidays and time with family? Generally during ‘school holidays’ airfares and hotel fees are higher/less affordable. If hotel/conferenc space is at a premium because it could otherwise be rented out for weddings etc, our conference fees too are apt to be higher. It’s a tough call.
2013 will mark the celebration of CDHA’s 50th Anniversary. Did you have your say and vote as to where and when you want the next CDHA conference? Be heard – click the link